DUBLIN — Dublin’s dramatic second-half Homecoming rally against its fourth straight quality football opponent Friday night came up short, but coach Bob Cervetto was encouraged by what he saw.
The Lions (0-4) fell behind visiting Breckenridge by three touchdowns but rallied before being stopped on their final possession inside the Buckaroos’ 30-yard line in a 21-17 loss.
A thunderstorm with dangerous lightning arrived in the fourth quarter, and the game was called off with 1:37 left on the clock by mutual agreement of the coaches. The Bucks had the ball at the time, after taking over on downs with 2:55 remaining on the clock.
It was the first victory this season for Class 3A, Division I Breckenridge (1-3), but the Bucks were ranked No. 12 in the state in one preseason poll before encountering a rugged schedule.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the kids,” said Cervetto, whose squad also has played a tough slate. “They responded well. I think we gained a lot of confidence. We played their butts off. We just ran out of time.
“They’re starting to see that they can play, We’ve just got to put it together and come out swinging. I felt like we had them on the ropes.”
Breckenridge gained its 21-0 advantage by the 6:17 mark in the second quarter. But after the Bucks missed a field goal with just under three minutes left before halftime, the Lions moved in for their first scoring drive.
Dublin’s Christian Hernandez kicked a 32-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, making it a 21-3 deficit.
The Lions’ momentum swing continued at the 8:41 mark in the third quarter when Jacob Riley ran for a 1-yard touchdown. Hernandez added the extra point to cut the deficit to 21-10.
After the Lions recovered a Breckenridge fumble, Gabriel Garcia fought off a defender and stretched across the goal line for an 8-yard TD run. That pulled Dublin within 21-17 with 2:56 to go in the third quarter.
Breckenridge blocked a Dublin punt, and the Bucks took possession at the Lions’ 25-yard line with 8:15 left in the fourth quarter.
But the Lions’ defense stiffened and stopped the Bucks on fourth down to take over at their own 17-yard line.
That’s when they marched to the Breckenridge 27-yard line on their final possession before turning the ball over on downs.
“I thought we performed really well,” Cervetto said. “We had a chance to win the game. We put ourselves in a position to win. We just needed three yards. Their defensive player came out of nowhere and made a great play.”
Breckenridge had opened the scoring with a 67-yard TD run with 9:15 remaining in the first quarter. The Bucks failed on a 2-point conversion pass attempt.
They made it 13-0 on a 24-yard TD run at the 5:29 mark in the second quarter, then added a 3-yard scoring run with 6:17 left in the half.
Cervetto said that calling the game off because of the weather was the best decision because of the size of the storm moving in, plus the fact that it was a nondistrict game.
“You hate to call it, but we knew the storm was coming,” he said. “You’ve got to take care of the kids.”
The next game for the Lions will be Friday at Bosqueville (7:30 p.m. kickoff).